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Following in a Mom’s (or Daughter’s) Footsteps: Mother/Daughter Business Ventures

Have you ever imagined yourself starting a company with your mother — or better yet, your daughter who might have some fresh ideas for a new business? Starting a business with family can have huge advantages – but some challenges as well.

In fact, mothers and daughters working together or starting businesses together is more common than you may think For example, designer Betsey Johnson and daughter Lulu Johnson have collaborated on fashion trends and best-selling author Jodi Picoult teamed up with her daughter Samantha Van Leer on literary concepts. One mother even gave her daughter an idea for a business that grew into a $24 million franchise.

Mother-daughter businesses aren’t always related to glamour, household products, or retail. This mother daughter team decided to team-up and work together in a successful home-building franchise.

However, working relationships between mothers and daughters (and even grandmothers) is not without its challenges. Here are some stories that make light of the greatness, as well as the hardships, of working with your mother or daughter.

If you decide to go into business with a family member, remember to:

  • Create some basic ground rules, like not discussing business at the dinner table or on holidays. Leave the office in the office.
  • Communicate clearly and do not allow emotions or old family feuds to get in the way of business.
  • Work to resolve issues related to management style, money, or other sensitive issues before they get out-of-hand. Consider engaging someone from outside the family as a consultant or create an advisory board.
  • Play to your strengths. Divide and conquer.
  • Have a clear succession plan. If you’re a mother who wants to leave your business to your daughter, be sure to involve her in the business and listen to new ideas. When it’s time to step away, do it gracefully.

Many of these tips apply to non-family businesses as well.

Mother-daughter teams have become so common that an association was formed for mothers and daughters in business.

The ideas that different generations can contribute can be powerful in growing a business and mothers and daughters can work together to appeal to different segments of customers. Provided they share a common vision and treat each other with both love and respect in business, mothers and daughters can work together in peace – and profitability!

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